Microsoft continues to evolve its flagship SharePoint 2016 and OneDrive Enterprise products to improve both the user experience and the user experience. With a few new features expected to be deployed by the end of 2017, SharePoint and OneDrive Business will help you to improve the security of your resources while being more efficient in your administrative tasks.

An improved SharePoint administration center admin panel

Currently, more than 200,000 companies worldwide use SharePoint as an intranet or electronic document management (EDM) for a total of 190 million users. Microsoft estimates that its usage should double with the gradual rise of SharePoint Online in Office 365 and that the stored content should increase by 5 times.

The complexity in terms of managing sites, files and users in Microsoft SharePoint is one of the criticisms often made by administrators. The objective of Microsoft is therefore obviously to facilitate the administration of the SharePoint platform by improving the interface but also by grouping data and similar functions on a single interface.

The SharePoint Admin Center panel is therefore presented with 5 main tabs:

  1. Home (Home)
  2. Site Management
  3. Sharing
  4. Device Access
  5. Settings

SharePoint Home: Message Center and Health Indicator

The first view of the “Home” control panel thus presents a first overview of the activity of the sites of your organization with data such as:

  • Uses and Volume of view, shared, edited and synchronized files
  • Number of sites on in your SharePoint 2016 platform and the volume of active sites
  • Message Center: Directly related to Office 365 developments, each new functionality or update that could benefit your users is presented in the form of a short message with the possibility of having more information. Microsoft’s communication on updates will be more fluid and transparent for SharePoint Admins.
  • Health indicator: The status of your SharePoint network will be directly visible through a simple indicator and will tell you if there is any connection problem.

Previously, these different data were visible only to the Global Admin SharePoint but now as SharePoint Admin center, you have direct access to it. All the reports presented are interactive and can be modified directly with a few mouse clicks only.

Site Management SharePoint 2016: a simplified interface

The Site Management tab provides a list of all your managed sites as an administrator of the corporate network. Each site is listed with its main information such as the type of site, site classification, storage volume, the site owner, share status, or last activity date.

It is obviously possible to manage this view by applying filters and making rankings of different kinds.

One can, for example, carry out a selective sorting by the last act of activity to know the sites that are no longer active for a certain time. Once the sites are inactive, it will be possible to contact the owners of the sites to ask if there is a problem or if the site is no longer used by its team to be able to remove it and thus save storage resources.

Managing Users and Devices for Office 365

The SharePoint Devices Access section allows you to control the login environment for users who are working across your Office 365 network. Multiple functionalities were already in place to implement a policy of access control and security by limiting connections from devices (Application and Mobile Device Management MDM) or public networks, for example.

A new feature now allows you to set a disconnect time for inactive users on uncontrolled devices. A feature that proves to be very useful in the case where you have mobile employees accessing the different corporate sites from uncontrolled devices or Internet networks (airport, train station, hotels, etc.).

For example, if I set the alert timeout to 10 minutes and the disconnect time to 15 minutes, then a user logged onto an unprotected inactive network will see a warning message after 10 minutes and a disconnection from his Office 365 direct account 5 minutes later.

The multi-geo support for OneDrive Business

For companies operating internationally or having many partners abroad, the governance of data is a real difficulty. With the Multi-Geo feature, you can now break down the location of data storage centers while identifying the users who are supposed to have access to each data center.

This new feature allows you to share documents and files outside the organization’s site in a very secure way. Very easily, you can limit or enlarge the sharing zones by including more or fewer predefined sites in a few clicks in the parameters of the section “Sharing”. This innovation will be of particular interest to companies operating internationally, as this will make it possible to manage data security more finely.

Users who have been identified as belonging to a certain organization will, therefore, be able to share files with collaborators from other organizations abroad according to the defined policy.

Define an encryption key to control access to OneDrive Business and SharePoint files

The purpose of defining a specific encryption key is to be able to limit real-time access to shared documents and files via OneDrive Business or SharePoint. Without authorized access by the administrator, it is therefore impossible to access the documents.

Let’s take a concrete example of sharing a Word document. An encryption key has been attached to this document: The Onedrive administrator thus has full control over the different users that he wants to have access to this document. When the user is removed from the permissions list, an error message appears when the document is opened, indicating that the user is no longer authorized to open the Office 365 document